Schneider

Canucks’ Schneider signs in Swiss league

Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider has agreed to a lockout deal with Ambri-Piotta of Switzerland’s National League “A”, according to the team website.

The move, while rumored for weeks, is certainly interesting from a players’ union perspective.

Schneider, 26, is Vancouver’s NHLPA rep and has been candidly outspoken about the current work stoppage:

See:

Canucks’ Schneider on decertification: “It’s a very serious decision”

Schneider thinks NHL will blink on contract rights

Schneider on first CBA offer: “We’re not panicking”

Adding to the surprise? Two weeks ago, Schneider had also reportedly “given up” on playing in Europe and seemed committed to sticking in North American until a new CBA had been reached.

Now it appears that’s no longer the case.

The former Boston College standout — who holds both U.S. and Swiss citizenship — will join an Ambri-Piotta side that’s had mixed results with NHL imports.

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty played just five games for the struggling club before abruptly returning to North America, yet ex-NHLers Jason Williams and Richard Park have been revelations for the team — Williams leads all scorere with 20 points while Park sits in fourth, with 15.

Schneider is coming off his best year in Vancouver that saw him post career-highs across the board: 33 games, 20-8-1 record, .937 save percentage and 1.96 GAA.

He supplanted longtime No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo in an opening-round playoff loss to Los Angeles and proceeded to sign a three-year, $12 million extension with the club in June.

Update: The Province’s Ben Kuzma sheds some light on Schneider’s thought process for signing overseas…

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.

Video: Orpik penalized after catching Maatta with late, high hit

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.

The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.

Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.